Etiquette For Phones: Is Your Smartphone Making You Totally Obnoxious?
We’ve gone over the standard smartphone social fare : don’t text during a conversation, don’t ignore friends to take a long phone call, don’t send text messages completely full with abbreviated words.
But that’s all we’ve done: don’t, don’t, don’t.
Instead, let’s talk about how to function in this smartphone-infused world. It’s been integrated in our daily lives – how do we use it when among friends, co-workers, and family? What are the acceptable uses, and what aren’t the acceptable uses?
Taking A Phone Call
These days, it’s inevitable that we get phone calls that we just must answer immediately, despite the fact that just a decade ago, if the caller couldn’t get through to you, they would have to wait for you to get the message on your home answering machine. Social rules have changed, and current society desires a more immediate gratification of their needs as opposed to delayed. That said, you’re expected to answer your phone right away or at least call back in the next few minutes.
Rather than completely ignoring your phone, try planning and evaluating the situation instead. If you are expecting an important call, then be honest: “Guys, someone’s going to call me in a few minutes – mind if I take it?”
Of course, make sure to be reasonable about the situation. Are you among company which will be understanding? How loose or strict are social rules in your particular setting? Is this an important meeting or are you hanging out with a friend?
Someone Isn’t Answering
Put yourself on the other side of an unanswered call or text: you’re the one doing the calling or texting, and you aren’t getting any feedback. We’ve all been there. Two things in this instance:
- Don’t keep calling. If they didn’t answer two minutes ago, they aren’t going to answer now.
- Don’t send “???” texts. Those are annoying, too.
In short, be patient. There’s a variety of reasons for not answering your call. For instance, the person you’re calling may be in the middle of a meeting (as expected). Or even worse, they may – for whatever reason – have the ringer turned on, and it’s continually ringing wherever they are.
You’re At A Party
Parties are designed for social interaction between people, face to face. If you’re on your phone the entire time, you may very well appear stand-offish and rude. If you’re at a party, devote thirty minutes to not touching your phone. See what other people are doing.
Are over half the people texting and sharing funny pictures with the people in the room? Eh. Might be okay to play with your phone. On the other hand, if everyone is chatting and playing board games, then you may want to engage.
Texting A Co-worker
Before you get on texting terms with a co-worker, establish your relationship with them first. Texting is more of an informal way to address someone, but at the same time, they are quicker and often more useful than a phone call.
Are your texts exclusively for professional means – that is, are they solely work-related? Have your texts become more friendly, and are they acceptable outside of work? What about humorous pictures and animations?
That said, identify the line, and make sure you don’t cross it. This line is different for various co-worker relationships, so all one can advise is that you evaluate where you are.
While In The Car
Riding in the car with your friend? Make sure your phone habits aren’t too distracting to them while they are driving. A few things to consider:
- How bright is your screen? It could be distracting for the driver..
- Are your phone calls a nuisance to them?
- Would it be beneficial to them if you navigated using your GPS ?
- Planning to go eat somewhere? Make a reservation on the way.
It’s easy to think, “Well, they are doing their thing, and I’m doing mine” while in a car. However, what most people do not consider is that the person with you is driving a 2-ton vehicle at 70 mph. You don’t want to be a problem for them.
These are just some of the many smartphone etiquette mistakes you might be making.